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Superintendent's Update - August 14, 2020

Dear PAUSD students, staff, and families,

BOARD AGENDA PRELIMINARY TOPICS
The next meeting of our Board of Education is on August 25 and is still under development. We are tentatively planning to share information regarding anticipated guidance from Governor Newsom regarding special education and support of struggling students. We will also discuss a new accountability measure called the Learning Continuity & Attendance Plan. Yes…it is also LCAP. Our Human Resources division will provide an update for the start of the year. We will develop a calendar for the year similar to the document we were using last year before the closure.

"CHOW DOWN" DISTRICT KICK-OFF
Although virtual, PAUSD held our annual "Chow Down" kick-off this week. The program lasted a little under an hour and included a keynote address from Jeff Eben. Jeff's inspirational story lead to our slogan this year, "Ambassadors of Hope". The entire program can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3L-J3tP-Cg

DIFFERENCES WILL BE EASILY SEEN IN START TO NEW YEAR
It will not be difficult to see the improvements to our program this year. I had the opportunity to visit many of our school supplies and materials distribution events this week. Pre-packaged boxes and bags contained many of the supplies we lacked last year. Devices, paper, scissors, glue sticks, books, and games were some of the items distributed by our elementary schools.

We have also reviewed many of the Schoology sites created after robust training. With 93% of our teachers completing the 10-hour course, the outcomes are clearly worth the investment. It took everyone a little time to adjust from the traditional system of fixed time and variable content to a shift to fixed learning content and variable uses of time. We will have more consistency in our academic program than in the past. This will allow for more sharing of materials, lessons, and best practices.

We have asked our principals to keep track of the bumpy parts of reopening. We expect to discover some issues around taking attendance and following schedules. If everyone can allow some space for growth, we will learn from the bumps and should be positioned for a strong start.

STAFFING
We were fortunate to avoid the level of turnover that has negatively impacted the District in some previous years. Stability is important right now and we are in good shape. Every teaching position is now filled with quality employees, many coming to PAUSD with previous experience. We only hired two principals. One was promoted internally and the other had 17 years of previous experience as a principal. Everyone else returned to their same sites. Every member of the Executive Cabinet is returning and the overall number of departures in all positions was significantly down.

Sincerely,

Don Austin
Superintendent of Schools
@DonAustin_PAUSD

Best school closure information found at https://www.pausd.org/school-closure